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Rescue teams use lessons learned from 9/11 for training

Rescue teams use lessons learned from 9/11 for training

By Andrew Adams | Posted - Sep. 11, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- There are obviously a lot of things from 9/11 that the first responders would like to forget, but they don't ever want to forget the lessons learned as they pertain to rubble piles and finding people.

In training exercises, emergency responders navigate concrete slabs, scrap metal and car parts above. Technicians figure out a labyrinth of cracks, crevices and open spaces below, practicing how to get emergency medical attention to victims of an urban disaster. It's working outside the box--a lesson learned from every tragedy.

"What we're doing out here today are lessons that were learned out in Haiti," Training manager Nick Glagola explained. "It's too hard to explain what you saw, what you smelled, what you felt."

They prepare for the unimaginable. The horrifically unforgettable.


Nobody's going to run into a building if you don't think you're going to come out of it. And yeah, I reflect on that a lot.

–- Merrill Bone


Merrill Bone, a heavy rescue specialist, was part of the Utah Task Force 1 team that responded days after 9/11. As he worked, hope for rescues quickly dimmed to a gray reality of hand-to-bucket searches, recovery, and reflection.

"Nobody's going to run into a building if you don't think you're going to come out of it. And yeah, I reflect on that a lot," Bone said.

He says to this day, September 11th has changed his outlook on his job. It has impacted training and federal dollars, and donations have helped to boost a warehouse off of State Route 201. Inside is every piece of equipment imaginable, supplies, and a communication system that is off the grid. Valued at $4.5 million, it all can be mobilized in 4 to 6 hours.

While several emergency responders have gone on a cross-country motorcycle ride to witness the anniversary first-hand, many of those who saw the devastation a decade ago are choosing not to relive it.

Concern still remains over another attack.

"I hope we never see anything like that again, but I think if you ask, pretty much everyone in the business is expecting something like that," Bone said.

Groups like this one are constantly on an on-call schedule around the country. Starting in November, Utah Task Force 1 is first up, meaning they could go anywhere if something bad happens.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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